WordPress Slowly Becoming the WoW Blogging Platform of Choice

Renowned WoW Blogger BigRedKitty has migrated from his home on Blogspot to his own domain. A quick examination of his footer reveals that he too has switched over to the WordPress platform.

Earlier in the week, Gwaendar (of Altitis) switched from Blogger to WordPress. Not far behind him Before that, Ess also moved to WordPress.

From the list of Blogs I follow on Google Reader:

Blogger

WordPress

Blogspot Bloggers: 15 14
Wordpress Bloggers: 15 16

Conclusion: Both platforms perform as intended, but we’ve seen evidence of people switching from Blogger to WordPress. I have yet to encounter a WoW Blogger switching from WordPress to Blogger. Of course, there must be countless of WoW Blogs that have escaped under my radar so those numbers up there could very well be skewed in either direction.

So to all of you young Blogglings out there, I suggest saving yourself a day’s worth of effort and just using WordPress initially instead of signing up for Blogger and then switching to WordPress =).

Guest Post: Why Do You Play WoW?

Matticus’ Note: I posted a small, but brief plea yesterday for help with my blog. Leiandra has helped me answer my plea. My exams conclude on the 15th of December, therefore my personal posts will be drastically reduced while I’m busy raiding cramming for my finals. But I don’t want to leave my readers hanging. I’m looking for some guest posters to help me for the next week or so. If you have your own WoW blog, chances are I’ve read it or ran into it. This is a great opportunity for you to expand your viewership and receive exposure. Your posts (if I like them) will appear here and on Curse. Simply drop me an email (look right) and we can work something out. I spend 2 – 4 hours a day blogging and I cannot sustain that kind of effort for the time being. Anyways, here’s Leiandra!

With Matticus being busy with finals, I volunteered to help him out with a post or two so that he could hopefully pass his classes :). Just a few, quick comment about me for those that don’t read my blog: My mage’s name is Leiandra, and I am a Guild Master for a raiding guild on the Bronzebeard – US server. I’ve been in guild leadership since I first starting playing MMO’s (only with the release of EQ2), and have been playing Wow for about 2.5 years now. I’ve been the GM of Primogeniture for about 2 months now, but have been part of the final decision making process for much, much longer.

The latest inspiration for this post comes from a recent person that I have been recruiting. Most of the Bronzebeard raiding guilds tend to start around 5 or 6pm server time. Our raid times start at 8:30, so we get a lot of people that want to join because of work shifts or just general night owls (vampires as one of my Raid Leaders calls them). This recent recruit registered for an account on our forums, but never filled out an app. He then contacted me in game to find our more about our guild. His work schedule had changed and he wouldn’t be able to raid with his current guild, hence the conversation he had with me. He sounded like he was interested, but told me he had to think about it. A few days later, he told me that he just wasn’t being fair to us, because he would only raid with us until his work schedule changed. I thanked him for his honesty, and we put each other on our friends’ lists in case we ever needed anything.

A few nights back, I needed another member for a 5-man run. He was online, and I asked him if he wanted to come. After a fairly successful run in which he did a great job, I was curious if he still maintained his loyalty to his guild. He told me that it was really only one raid leader that he was still loyal to, and that person was actually okay with him leaving. He filled out an application on our forums, and then again, decided that he wanted to stay with his guild.

Some people might consider this frequent changing of one’s mind quite annoying, but I completely understood. Sometimes people move on from the game. Sometimes people change guilds. The only thing that’s constant is that each guild will change. I think the successful guilds generally roll with those punches, adapt, and move on. But when is it right for you, the individual player, to move on?

To answer that question, it takes some deep introspection on the part of each individual. Questions like “Why do I play WoW?” should be addressed. What is most important to you? Is it important to be with friends? Is progression your big thing? Are you just in a guild that nobody is online when you are? Sometimes there’s drama or fights… that can happen to. Do you just want to play solo for awhile? How much are you going to regret leaving your guild, if at all?

When I first starting playing Wow, I did so to play with my best friend and his brother. The three of us started a guild because we were tired of random guild invites. The guild grew as RL friends and relatives joined us or transferred servers. We were never huge, but at our height, right before the expansion, we were getting in to Zul’Gurub. A lot of us also PUG’ed and participated in other guild raids in almost all of the dungeons (I think Naxx was the only one not on our lists). With the expansion, and me being a night owl, a few of us decided that we’d break off into a more structured raiding guild and have more than just one guild run per week. It was a difficult decision to leave my guild of friends. I knew a few of them would come with me, and hoped others would follow. We had all been together for so long that I knew I’d still talk to them often, and hopefully group with them regularly as well. Well, the grouping thing hasn’t happened as much as I had originally planned, but I still talk to most of them nightly. My priorities, at the time of our new guild, were based around progression and seeing new content. I have a whole list of new, online friends, and I enjoy being in the guild I am.

My priorities are aligned with where my toons are and the guild they are in. Sure, there are ups and downs. It’s not like I always get my way, even as GM, but I’m happy where I’m at. Are you? Is it time to move on? Is there something better on the horizon, but maybe you’re just too scared to make the change? Or are you exactly where you want to be with the people you want to be there with? I hope most of you can answer “yes” to that last question. It’s just a game. Have fun. Be happy.

So did you like what you read? Then head on over to Leiandra’s blog. While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe to Leiandra’s RSS.

Leaving? But You Just Got Here!

I have often wondered what drives people to do the things that they do. At about 10 PM, I saw someone advertise that they were looking for a healer to help fill out Kara. Nightbane and above were the only bosses left. I opted to join. I had nothing really going on and I was tired of reading. I brought in Saphfira to collect some badges along the way. We wiped three times against Nightbane and then cleared to Curator taking him down in the process.

Here’s where things got eyebrow raising.

One of the mages had to leave.
Then a druid just left the group and hearthed.
Subsequently, we lost a Priest due to a family emergency.
A rogue had to raid in 20 minutes.

WHAT THE HELL!?

I think we did pretty well for the most part. We wiped on Nightbane, people stayed. We killed Curator, people left. When you join a raid, there’s a level of expectancy that is involved. It’s expected that your next 2 or so hours will be free from any other activities or interruptions. Your Guild expects that. Pickup players expect that. What the heck’s the point of joining a Karazhan raid when you have to raid 30 minutes later? These people are on my blacklist and I’m sure they looked bad to everyone else. At least we cleared Prince. Then I checked the clock and it was 130 AM. I fell asleep.

But I didn’t leave my group hanging. I told them beforehand that I could guarantee awakeness until 130 AM. After that, all bets were off. I’m not as young as I used to be. I can’t stay up until 4 AM anymore.

Exam on Thursday and on Saturday. Reduced blogload this week. WTB guest posters.

5 Gaming Lessons from Matticus

I got tagged. I’ve never really done one of these before, but I have read about them. How nice of GMW to conveniently provide me with an outlet on a slow day. I’ve been asked to come up with 5 lessons that gaming has taught us.

Without further adieu and in no particular order:

  • Game reviewers can no longer be trusted
  • A little bit of post game analysis goes a long way
  • You are represented by your actions
  • Idiots come in all ages
  • School and WoW don’t mix

Just some various notes for the upcoming math. December is now upon us. It’s the best time of year with food, presents, drinking, etc. It’s also the worst time of the year with exams. As such, I will be posting at a much reduced rate (2-3 a week).

Another layout’s on the way. Should be up before New Years. I was reading up on some design principles and philosophies. Boy I built this place incorrectly.

Curse website looks great! I wish we could move some of the widgets around and that the stupid preview function in the blog would work. That would make my life so much easier when I write there. Good grief.

Single? Lonely? Fear Not! WoW Online Matchmaking a Reality!

There’s a whole new spin on online dating websites. If you haven’t heard about it already, Datecraft.com is a service that aims to pair up people from around the world with each other. A colleague of mine over at Curse has published an interview with Datecraft.com founder, John. Check out this brief excerpt:

TDQ: Where did the idea come from?

Datecraft: In a nutshell, the idea came from a number of different personal experiences, and a little bit of entrepreneurial spirit.

I first got into MMO’s a couple of years back. In the fall of 2001, I was a college freshman trying to figure out how to spend my time between classes, DAoC (which launched October 10th), Xbox (Nov 15th), GameCube (Nov 18th), and a number of other distractions. It was DAoC that grabbed my attention, because it was unlike anything I had played before (and was the first game I was willing to pay a monthly subscription on!). My Uncle’s sister was an actual level/environ designer for Mythic, which made it all the more attractive. I was hooked and MMORPG’s became a steady favorite time-bandit for me. But, I began to wonder “who are these people I’m playing with?” Was that Midgard Dwarf really a short stubby 40-something year old in his mom’s basement? Or was it a really attractive young female that had some extra time on her hands? In any case, my curiosity led me to begin thinking about ways in which I would be able to meet, or at least “see”, my fellow guildmates (and the random PUG groups) on or offline. And, to be quite honest, the Elf from Hibernia, was she dateable?

Fast forward 3 or 4 years to November 24th, 2004. World of Warcraft hits the shelves and MMORPG fans rejoiced! My friend got me to sign up after he let me create a t00n on his account and that was it. I was addicted. Over time, I began hearing real life stories of people who had met in game, contacted each other in real life, met each other, dated, and then married! It was an amazing phenomenon, and one that I partly intrigued by and at the same time repulsed. But, it sure was fascinating. Graduating from college, I took my first job in what I would call the “bat cave”. I was managing Cisco routers for an collocation and ISP working graveyard shifts, and what’s so funny is that even during the day we kept the lights out. What was so interesting is that out of the 8 or 9 of my fellow cave-dwellers 7 of them were married, and of those 7, 6 of them had gotten married to people they met online (2 mail-order brides from Russia, 1 online from Thailand, and 3 stateside). Online dating was real. And more than that, it appeared to be working, as all of them “seemed” pretty satisfied with their marriages!

To be honest, I figured something like this would happen eventually. It was only a matter of time before someone was ballsy enough to try it out. I’m tempted to make an account and explore the interface (I swear, it’s more out of curiosity then anything else). I’m hoping it’s an environment that’s akin to Facebook. But there’s another service out there coming out in the 1st quarter of 2008 specifically for WoW Players that resembles Facebook that GMW wrote about a while back (Read: Rupture.)

Speaking about Curse, they just launched a new design of their entire website. My thoughts about it will come after tonight.

WoW Struggles: Maintaining Reputation

Source: sxc.huI must apologize about my lack of a post for today. I had a term paper due, and like many WoW students, I have horrible time management skills. But that’s another topic I hope to address entirely.

Anyways, onto business!

First, I want to extend Gwaendar a hearty shoutout. He has honored me with a spot on his blog roll which I will reciprocate in kind. One Among Many has also done the same. I thank them both for their links. I believe it’s important to recognize writers who link to you. Any of you aspiring writers would do well to keep that in mind.

Today, I plan to start an ongoing series of blog posts about our struggles in WoW. I guess you could call it my catch all on days when I have no material!

In addition to WoW Blogs, I also read non-WoW blogs to help improve my writing and style. Lorelle’s Blog Struggles series has inspired me here, as you can see.

An Epic Tale

I’ve been lucky throughout my entire WoW raiding career. I cannot say there was an incident where my instance raid ID or my loot had been stolen and ninja’d. Unfortunately, others have not been so lucky. Big Bear Butt had his raid instance partially taken.

Kirk wrote an excellent reaction to the situation that I think everyone should check out.

In a game like World of Warcraft where players need to interact with others, social reputation is the currency. How players view you could either open doors or close them.

A situation like this one where a player has done something unfair will cause other players to think badly of them. The Guild in question will be labeled as an organization where none of it’s members can be trusted until the culprit is found.

I know what you’re thinking.

One Question

Who cares what they think? So what if I ninja loot and commit other acts? I pay $15 a month to play this game how I see fit and I don’t care what other people think of me.

One Answer

Because if you do that on a consistent basis, no one is going to want to deal with you. Take a look at the following list and possible penalties.

  • No fun in groups because you can’t get any
  • Zero raiding opportunities
  • Crafters won’t want your business
  • Online abuse
  • …Need I say more?

He Was a Warlock

Let me cite an example. A year ago when I transferred to Ner’Zuhl (gosh has it been that long already?), I heard stories of a Warlock named Evilana. Apparently he was a bad player and had a bad reputation. To get associated with him meant serious bad news. I never knew precisely what the reasoning was behind it, but I did not want to deal with a player who sounded that bad. In fact, he was a target of many flamers on the WoW Forums. I was new to the server at the time and like a kid entering high school for the first time, just wanted to fit in. I didn’t actively participate in any e-floggings but I stayed distant.

A while later, I had gotten word that he either transferred off the server or ebayed his character (or both).

That was the last time I ever heard about him again.

The Lesson

Do not underestimate the power of a united social force. They have a mind of their own. Think of it as the online version of the mob mentality. They can spread the word about a player’s dominance and make him seem like a god. Or they can shred his reputation entirely like he is a pile of dirt. The popularity of a person depends entirely on what other people think of them. You can think of certain world leaders as an example. Popular opinion can spread like a wildfire and ruin WoW careers.

The End?

So what’s going to happen with BBB? I can only imagine. I suspect if they ever find the person involved, he’s only going to get a slap on the wrist and a stern talking to. But I plan to observe any developments with great interest.

Choosing the Right Meta Gem

I’ve touched on gems briefly in my Priest gear list. What I failed to address at the time was what meta gems to use when you had an item that could use it.

What are Meta Gems?

Meta gems are like your standard blue, red, or yellow gems but with one very significant exception: They are fairly rare to obtain. These gems are special because they bestow a special effect or passive ability to the head piece that it is socketed in.

Light-Collar of the Incarnate

Mouse over that link for a moment and you’ll see a helm that has a meta socket and a blue socket which activates the healing bonus. Most head pieces don’t have meta gems. But for healing helms with a meta gem, there’s a few options.

What gems should I use?

3 Choices:

Mystical Skyfire Diamond

  • Abilities: 15% chance on spellcast – next spell 50% casting time
  • Requires more Blue gems than Yellow gems

Insightful Earthstorm Diamond

  • Abilities: +12 Intellect, Chance to restore mana on spellcast
  • Requires at least 2 Red gems, 2 Blue gems, 2 Yellow gems

Bracing Earthstorm Diamond

  • Abilities: +26 Healing Spells, 2% Reduced Threat
  • Requires more red then blue gems

I can tell you right off the bat that I would knock off Bracing Earthstorm Diamond from the list of considerations. The abilities are attractive. But the requirements are too difficult to meet as Priests. The requirements are a little more reasonable now. The 26 healing is nice. I’d consider using it if you’re having some issues with lack of healing. I’ve never really had much of a problem. You’re going to be socketing Nightseyes more than anything else anyway.

You’re better off weighing the other two choices.

In a nutshell, it’s either going to be faster spellcasting or mana regen over time. In a raid setting, Priests will be spending mana like crazy. It would help to have other ways of replenishing your mana, so that’s the argument for the Insightful Earthstorm. I don’t know how often I’ve preached mana regen. If you close your eyes and click a post of mine at random, you’ll probably find some mention of it. The requirements aren’t insanely hard or ridiculous to meet either. 2 reds, blues, and yellows are easy to slot up with. The trick is to find the right combination of gear which will have the necessary slots available.

But don’t discount faster casting entirely. Sometimes, having a fast heal can pay off. My Shaman has this meta gem equipped. I’ve gotten many timely procs of the ability when I thought my party would wipe. The requirements for this to activate are even easier. You just need 1 blue gem and no yellows and you are set. There’s going to be encounters where tanks are taking huge hits and you need that spell haste. Those heals have got to land or else your healing assignment is dead because you can’t keep up with it.

Bottom line

If you’re still unsure of which meta gem to choose, I would suggest picking up the spell cast gem first. Odds are, you may not have enough gear with the necessary sockets for effects to activate. Go with that for now then as your gear progresses, make the shift towards the Insightful Earthstorm Diamond (mana regen). You can’t heal without mana. Always remember that.

Sadly I’m still using the Headdress of the High Potentate which doesn’t even have any slots. I’m waiting for Vashj to surrender a token so I can finally replace it.

Matt’s Three Stars: Week Ending November 26

I’m going to make this swift. I’m missing a good hockey game right now. It’s Luongo vs the St. Louis Blues.

Holy Priest Stealth Fren: I like Tobold’s Blog. The topics he writes about makes the rest of us step back and think. He has applauded the buff (or “fren” as he calls it) that has been given to healers. The fact that 33% of your healing is converted to spell damage is pretty sweet. Tobold even goes as far as to propose that Protection warriors should be awarded a similar buff. He makes a strong argument here:

Fact is that as long as you solo, dps is far, far more useful than healing or the damage mitigation abilities of a tank. Not to mention that all the taunt abilities of a protection warrior become totally useless in solo combat. So many of the players who have a choice between a talent build for dps and a talent build for healing/tanking choose the former, so as not to gimp themselves for soloing. But of course that hurts their usefulness in groups, and makes it hard to find enough healers and tanks for grouping in general.

In order for something like this to be accomplished, tank stats have to somehow be converted to damage. One of the guys that commented on his blog even says that Blizzard is looking to help Prot Warriors. First star!

A Please to my WoW Blogging Peers:

Dear WoW Bloggers,

Please extend post so I can read more from my RSS.

Gwaendar

I’m going to second Gwaendar on this one. I do most of my reading at school during the dull periods of a lecture. Thankfully, I have full access to any site with no firewall impairing me. However, it is an annoyance to have to click through to read the entire story. But it’s okay! Your stories are so awesome I do it anyway =). In my case, I’ve never added my own blog to my reader so I’m not aware of what it looks like. Is there anything odd?
Here’s some other things that some WoW Bloggers don’t do that bug me.

  • Allow anonymous comments: This is the one thing that has turned me away the most. A blogger constructs an insightful post, and I want to chime in on it. Surprise, surprise! I need to be a member of Blogger in order to say something. Please don’t do that. Allow anonymous comments. There’s safeguards out there that help prevent spam. Besides, it encourages feedback and discussion which we all want.
  • Explained absence: Some bloggers like to disappear without any word of where there going or without saying they’re taking an extended leave. If an active blogger who writes a post every day or two for the past while suddenly vanishes for a week without writing, that catches my attention. ARE YOU OKAY?! ARE YOU HURT?! Criminology increases paranoia. I don’t generally announce new blogs on my blogroll. I like to sneak them in there. But on the other side of the coin, I also remove blogs abruptly in that same manner.

Mana Efficiency: Draezele has written a great post about casting the right spells to prolong your mana as much as possible. I’m very happy to know that I’m using the right combination of downranked heals to maintain my tanks and my raids when I’m playing my Shaman.

On a Side Note

My reading list has grown from 5. I’m always on the lookout for more. If you see any good ones or if you’re a writer yourself, drop me a comment so I can see! =)

I think there’s an error in my reader. There’s a blog down there that says (title unknown). That one is pulling feeds from Lady Jess. Or is there error due to the lack of a title?

Patch 2.3.2 Coming To You

Yup, it looks like it’s been officially announced. The first thing I do when upcoming patch notes are available is scanning the Priest section. I want to see what they’re changing to my class. Well guess what?

No changes.

As far as we can tell, Priests have had no adjustments made so far. Now isn’t that just peachy? Apparently, our class is balanced. However, I beg to differ. Take a look down below at exhibit A.

You might be able to recognize that screenshot. That’s me on my Shaman clearing to Attumen. To my left is a Shadowpriest (Hi John!). To my right is one of those undead horses being mind flayed. Or is it? Look at the angle of the flay. Normally, John’s a straight shooter. But to be fair, his CS skills have waned somewhat. Did it carry into Warcraft? Nah. This has got to be a graphical bug of some kind. That Mind Flay is clearly way off target.

However, my Shaman is getting some rather interesting changes.

Shaman

  • Earth Shield (Restoration) mana cost reduced.
  • Lightning Shield mana cost reduced.
  • Water Shield now restores mana periodically regardless of how many charges remain. Duration increased to 10 minutes.

In a nutshell, Shamans just became a lot more mana efficient. We don’t know for sure yet how often Water Shield will activate or how mana it returns. We’ve already seen the Mana Spring Totem get buffed.

Imp. Water Shield + Mana Spring Totem = Lots of Chain Heals

Shamans used to be at the bottom of the barrel when it came to mana efficiency. That no longer appears to be the case.

5 Ways to Survive Alterac Valley

Before I played my Priest, I had a 60 Paladin. My first guild was Micro, a PvP group based in Twisting Nether. My time on WoW was spent running organized Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch for hours on end. This was before the battlegroups concept was introduced into WoW. You may consider me a hardcore raider, but I’m no slouch in PvP tactics either. The mechanics of AV has changed. What’s the general premise? Beat the crap out of the other team before they do it to you.

Two Methods to Victory

Killing the opposing team’s General
-OR-
Running their reinforcement counter to 0

As healers, we will often be one of the most sought after targets. Not all of us have full Season 2 gear with 400 resilience. If we want to give our team even a remote chance of winning, we need to survive. If we can survive, we can heal our own knuckledraggers pew-pewers. Remember, every death sustained is one point taken off of our reinforcement counter. With that said, here are 5 easy ways to live and support your side.

1) Use terrain to your advantage

When a player goes out of your line of sight, your spells automatically cancel. No other battleground or arena has much junk to hide behind. If you’re on the frontlines and you know you’re being targeted by range, duck behind a tree. You can move behind a tower. Don’t just stand in the open and give their mages easy Frostbolting action. Line of sight THEIR spellcasters. If I’m healing a Warrior, I will dismount behind a tree. All that crap you learned in Grade 10 math pays off here. Set up a triangle. You can see the warrior. Enemy mage sees the warrior. You can’t see enemy mage, therefore enemy mage cannot see you. Mage blasts warrior, sees heals, tab targets to you, realizes you’re not in line of sight, gets crushed by Skillherald. And all you had to do was park yourself next to a tree.

2) Do not mindlessly charge into the enemy

If I had a copper for everytime I’ve seen this happen, I’d be able to quit school and sell WoW gold for a living. In a game where every player’s life is precious, people who randomly charge into the horde with no support behind them are pissing away reinforcement points. Please do not do this. Do not stay mounted and numlock your way into Frostwolf Graveyard while realizing that there are 4 players of the opposing faction guarding that flag. If you’re going to go in on the offense, tag along with a few other players. Odds of survivability greatly increase with your proximity to other players.

3) Cut your losses

If your offense is stalling and you’re not able to sustain the health of players around you, do not hesitate to cut your losses and fall back. Being able to think on a macro scale and on a micro scale is an asset. If six players are rushing up the ramp into Tower Point and you just capture it, there’s no way you can hold out that long for four minutes. Forty seconds maybe, but not four minutes. Better to drop a psychic scream, jump off the tower and fallback to the IB graveyard. Because if you think about it, you can either lose the tower and two reinforcement points or lose the tower anyway and come back later with some fire power.

4) Maximize your range

What’s the difference between healing at point blank range and healing at maximum range? Whatever your health is. If your at max, you’re not likely going to be targeted because the opposing team is busy with groundpounders that are smashing their face up front. That leaves you free to drop your renews, healing waves, shields, etc. Use the players your side as a barrier. Keep them alive and they will in turn protect you.

5) Stalling tactics

We have defensive measures at our disposal that we can use to evade enemy attacks or make us stronger. When you’re falling back, slow down the other side. Keep using your global cooldowns. Shamans should be dropping earthbind totems and grounding totems as much as possible. Priests should be tossing up shields, screams, and stoneforms (Dwarves only). Tie up the enemy as long as possible. Delay them. Do whatever it takes. If you see a mounted Tauren ride by, frost shock him. This especially holds true when you’re assaulting a graveyard. Don’t fight ON the flag. Fight between the graveyard and the flag so you can tie up and stall the players that are ressing. Think about it for a moment. What is your first inclination when you see an opposing player that is trying to tag your graveyard? You are going to do whatever it takes to get that player off the flag, right? Exactly. The reverse holds true.

Follow these simple concepts and you will help your side see success in AV. At the very least, even if you don’t win, you won’t die as much.